Virus Help - Removal on Windows Operating Systems

Preliminary Infomation

Viruses can cause a lot of frustration when they go unnoticed or unchecked. You may think your computer is slow and worthless, but really it is infected with nasty viruses that steal your computer's resources from the good programs. Virus removal can be complicated but Discount Electronics makes it a breeze for anyone willing to try it themselves.

Before you begin, here are a few tips and tricks that can help make this process easier.

  • Take your time. Scanning for problems takes a lot of time for most computers. Give yourself at least an hour to focus on this and don't get frustrated when it takes 15-20 minutes or longer to complete a scan, especially at the end of the process.
  • If you are working on a notebook, try to keep it cool and allow the fans to vent so you don't overheat your machine (this is a good rule for notebooks in general). Also, make sure you are plugged in!
  • It is recommended that you turn off your wireless and take all other computers off your network during the removal process. You will need to hook your computer up with an Ethernet cable directly to the router or cable modem to get Internet access in order to download programs in this tutorial.


First, you will need to start up your computer in Windows 'safe mode'. Surely you've heard it before - 'safe mode' is a special way to diagnose problems while your computer only has a minimal amount of software running. Get comfortable with this process - you will need to get into safe mode often during virus removal.

  • To begin, restart the computer and repeatedly press F8 after the computer manufacturers logo that flashes the first time your computer starts. If you see the normal Windows XP loading screen with progress bar you have gone too far and will need to restart this process.
  • You should see a black screen with lots of white text, that means you are in the right place. From this menus, you'll want to choose 'Safe Mode With Networking' from the options and press 'Enter'. This is so you can still have access to the Internet while working on your computer.
  • When you've successfully booted up into safe mode, large white text will appear at the top and bottom of the desktop. Also, the screen should appear stretched because safe mode brings your resolution down to the lowest setting to conserve resources.
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Next, it is necessary to disable system restore if threats are detected to prevent the reinfection of your computer. System restore systematically backs up your files and can often still contain the infected file that caused the virus in the first place. This is why doing a system restore will never fix a virus problem - the restored infected file just causes the virus again. In order to disable system restore, start by right clicking 'My Computer', then click 'Properties' in the file menu, and then click on the 'System Restore' tab. Once the menu opens, click the box left of the text 'Turn Off System Restore on all Drives'. To finish, click 'Apply'. A prompt will come up asking you to confirm this choice and you'll click 'OK' to continue. Once returned to the 'System Properties' menu, click 'OK' to disable system restore.


Another necessary step is to remove your computer's 'prefetch' folder contents. The 'prefetch' is an essential step in your computer's start up process. It organizes important start up files for key programs in order to help speed up the start up process. However, viruses can also have files stored here that speed up their start up as well and sometimes where infections hide and begin. You will need to clean the prefetch folder several times during the virus removal process.

ATF Cleaner This program is a key component of the process and will need to be done now and after every scan in the entire virus removal process. This process is like cleaning a chalkboard after solving every math problem - it deletes the files of temporary files, history, prefetch, cache, recycle bin, and cookies in order to make sure traces of previous activity is cleaned away before you restart.

  • Visit this page to download
  • After downloading, find the ATF Cleaner file and double click the icon.
  • The main screen appears after the program loads. Click the 'Select All' box at the bottom of the list then click 'Empty Selected'.
  • Once completed, a message will pop up stating 'Done Cleaning'. Click 'OK' to finish.
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Hijackthis This program is an excellent tool to use to find and fix malicious items. It is a quick and easy program that can help you easily identify registry entries that are nasty. By copying and pasting the results into Hijackthis' website you can review the registry entries against default settings and investigate them further. This process can get complicated if you do not investigate thoroughly and verify negative items can be removed prior to removing everything.

  • Visit this page to download
  • Locate the installation file and double click the icon.
  • Agree and accept the user agreement by clicking "I Agree".
  • Next, the program should load and you'll have a menu of several different options. Click "Do a System Scan and Save a 'Logfile'.
  • The program will quickly scan your system and open up a notepad document with the results.
  • In the notepad text, right click and then select 'Select All' to highlight all the text.
  • Next, right click again and select 'Copy'.
  • Direct your browser to Leave Hijackthis running because we'll come back to it in step 11.
  • Once the website loads, you'll center your mouse in the text box, right click, and select paste. The log file contents from the notepad file should now appear in the log file text box on
  • Now click the "Analyze" button at the bottom of the website. Be patient as it could take a few minutes for the next page to load.
  • Once the results page loads, you'll want to look for red 'X's in the 'Kind' column as well as 'Neutral' and 'Nasty' in the 'Visitor's Assessment' column. It is strongly advised that you take the time to research 'Neutral' entries to ensure that they are safe. Take caution in removing neutral items because they could impact the functionality of some installed programs. If this happens, you can reinstall them after the virus removal is finished at your own risk - just research them carefully to ensure they are not malicious!
  • As you discover items you need to remove, go back to Hijackthis and you'll check the box next to each bad item in the list.
  • Once you've selected all the bad ones you wish to remove in Hijackthis, you are ready to click 'Fix'.
  • The program will prompt you to verify that you are ready to 'Fix'. Select 'Yes'. Once the program is done fixing the checked items, it will return to the original screen.
  • Exit Hijackthis and then run ATF Cleaner (select all items).
  • You will have to manually reboot the computer into safe mode with networking. Follow the instructions above in the "Safe Mode" section if necessary.


Malwarebytes This program is a great way to detect and remove Malware. If you decide to keep the program installed, it can even help prevent Malware from affecting you again.

  • Visit this page to download
  • After downloading, find the installation icon and double click.
  • The first prompt will allow you to set a language. Select yours and click 'OK'.
  • Click 'Next' once you get to the the welcome screen.
  • The next screen is their license agreement and you should accept if you wish to proceed.
  • After that, you should be to the 'Information' screen and will need to click 'Next' to continue.
  • Now you will need to select a destination location. It is acceptable to use the default location. Select 'Next'.
  • Then it will prompt you to select a Start Menu folder and again you can use the default location then select 'Next'.
  • Next you will need to select 'Additional Tasks'. Here you can create a desktop icon and/or a quick launch icon. Select your preference and then 'next'.
  • The program is now ready to install. Click 'Install' to proceed.
  • In a few seconds, you should see the install screen and the installation process. Once it's complete, you'll see a final screen that will allow you to click 'Finish' to complete the setup. Leave the 'Launch' and 'Update' boxes checked.
  • The program will now start up and begin updating its database. Once its finished updating, it will inform you it has updated the database. Select 'OK' to continue.
  • Next, the program will open to its main menu. You'll select the button next to 'Perform Full Scan' then click 'Scan' to continue.
  • Select the all hard drives in order to scan them. It is not necessary to scan CD/DVD drives.
  • It will take a few minutes to scan and the next screen should show the progress. Here you should start seeing a number of infections in red text.
  • Once the scan is completed, the program will open a notepad document with the results and also display a prompt stating the scan has completed successfully. Click 'OK' to continue.
  • Next, you'll click "Show Results". Make sure all item in the scan results are checked and then click 'Remove Selected'.
  • Now you can exit the notepad document and Malwarebytes should ask you to reboot. Before you click 'Yes' you will need to run ATF Cleaner again.
  • Shift to the desktop and open ATF Cleaner. Check the 'Select All' box and then click 'Empty Selected'. Once ATF Cleaner is done cleaning, click 'OK' on the prompt and exit the program.
  • Shift back to Malwarebytes and click 'Yes' to reboot.
  • Make sure you start up into 'Safe Mode With Networking'.
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Super Anti Spyware (SAS) SAS will detect and destroy vicious Spyware, Ad-ware, Malware and other threats with ease.

  • Visit this page to download
  • Once downloaded, double click the SAS icon to begin the installation. At the installation introduction screen, click 'Next' to begin.
  • You must accept the license agreement to continue. Click 'I Agree' to accept.
  • The next screen requires you to select "User Information and Registration" data. It is OK to use the default options and click 'Next' to continue.
  • After that, you'll need to select a destination folder. Again, you can use the default location and click 'Next' to continue.
  • The program should now confirm it has been successfully installed. Click 'Finished' to move on.
  • Next, SAS will automatically open to the setup process. The first screen should allow you to set your language and select 'OK' to continue.
  • The program will ask you to allow it to check for the latest rules and definition updates. Select 'Yes'. SAS will then show an update progress screen
  • The next screen that comes up is the Welcome screen. Click 'Next' to continue.
  • You can optionally sign up to receive email updates if you wish. It is not necessary so you can leave it blank if you wish to not sign up. Click 'Next' to continue.
  • Next, you will need to allow automatic update checking and then click 'Next' to continue.
  • The next screen asks you to send a diagnostic report to the program's research center. This is not necessary, so you can deselect the box and click 'Next' to continue.
  • Finally, the setup should be complete. Click 'Finish' to continue.
  • SAS will now ask you if you would like to allow the program to protect your home page from being changed. Click "Do Not Protect Home Page" to continue.
  • Before you do a scan, you'll need to check the 'Preferences' section. Under the 'Configuration and Preferences' section (middle right) click 'Preferences'.
  • This opens up an entirely different menu. Click the 'Scanning Control' tab.
  • Under 'Scanner Options' make sure that only the following are unchecked(make sure all others are checked):
    • Scan only known file types
    • Scan for tracking cookies
    • Display scan option in Explorer context (right click) menu
  • Click 'Close', continue to scan computer for malware.
  • It is now time to click 'Scan Your Computer' under the 'Scan for Harmful Software' section (top left).
  • At the next screen, select the hard drives in the list on the left side. Again, CD/DVD roms do not need to be scanned. Then, select the button next to 'Perform Complete Scan' in the middle right section. Select 'Next' to begin.
  • Now you should see the progress screen. This will take at least 15-20 minutes to finish. You will start to see results appear in the threat window. Once completed, the program will launch a results prompt. This prompt outlines all the negative findings in the search. Click 'OK' to continue.
  • SAS will now ask you to review the findings and fix them. If you need more information on the findings, you can check the box and click 'Explain Detected Item'. In order to fix the items, you'll want to select the check boxes next to each item and then click 'Next' to continue to quarantine.
  • The next screen will show the process of the quarantine then confirm the completion. Click 'OK' to continue.
  • SAS will now prompt you to reboot. Before you allow a reboot, you must run ATF Cleaner again.
  • Shift to the desktop and open ATF Cleaner. Check the 'Select All' box and then click 'Empty Selected'. Once ATF Cleaner is done cleaning, click 'OK' on the prompt and exit the program.
  • Shift back to SAS and click 'Yes' to reboot.
  • Make sure you start up into 'Safe Mode With Networking'.
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ESET Online Scanner In order to begin the virus removal process, you will need direct your browser to the Eset Online Virus Scanner here.

  • Once you have opened the website and the page has loaded, you can click on the green button 'ESET Online Scanner'.
  • A popup will appear asking you to agree to their end user license agreement. You must check the 'YES, I accept' and click 'Start' to continue.
  • After you accept the EULA, the next prompt should ask you to click 'Install' to continue.
  • A new screen will appear asking you to chose 'Computer Scan Settings'. Ensure the 'Remove Found Threats' and 'Scan Archive' boxes are checked, then click 'Start' to continue.
  • Now the virus signature database is being downloaded and a progress bar is displayed. This could take a few minutes.
  • After the virus signature database is downloaded, the next screen will begin scanning your computer for infections automatically. Another progress bar is displayed and this step will take 15-20 minutes to complete. Results should start appearing below the progress bar.
  • Once the program is done scanning, it will display the results. Here you can allow the program to uninstall after you close it and also delete quarantined files that were found. Make sure both boxes are checked and then click 'Finish'.
  • Close ESET and open up ATF Cleaner. Check the 'Select All' box and then click 'Empty Selected'. Once ATF Cleaner is done cleaning, click 'OK' on the prompt and exit the program.
  • Manually reboot into 'Safe Mode With Networking'.
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House Call Online Virus Scanner First you will need to determine if your Windows XP is 32-bit or 64-bit. In order to do this, open the 'Start Menu' and then right click on the 'My Computer' icon. Next, click on 'Properties' in the file menu. If you don't see "x64 Edition" listed, then you're running the 32-bit version of Windows XP. However, if "x64 Edition" is listed under System, you're running the 64-bit version of Windows XP. The 32-bit version is the more common than 64-bit.

  • Once you've determined the type of Windows XP you have, direct your browser to
  • Once the page has loaded, you can click on the appropriate link for 32-bit or 64-bit systems.
  • A new window will pop up asking you to choose 'Continue to Download' or 'Get the Software for Free'. Click on the red house button on the left to 'Continue to Download'.
  • At the download prompt, click 'Save' to continue.
  • The next prompt will ask you to store the file. It is okay to store to your desktop and click 'Save'.
  • After the program downloads, a new prompt comes up confirming download. Click 'Run' to continue.
  • Once opened, the program will download updates. This could take a few minutes.
  • After the updates are installed, the program will ask you to accept its license agreement. Ensure the 'I Accept' button is selected and click 'Next' to continue.
  • The next screen will initiate the scan process. Beneath the blue 'Scan Now' button, there is a link to change the settings. Click 'Settings' and when the menu comes up, click the 'Full System Scan' button then 'OK'.
  • Click the blue 'Scan Now' button. The program will now scan your files. This will take 15-20 minutes to complete.
  • Once finished, the results will be displayed in a list. For each infection, you'll want to ensure each drop down box in the 'Action' column is selected on 'FIX'.
  • After you've checked all boxes, click the blue 'Fix Now' button to allow the program to delete the infected files.
  • Once all the bad files have been fixed, click 'Close' to finish.
  • Close House Call and open up ATF Cleaner. Check the 'Select All' box and then click 'Empty Selected'. Once ATF Cleaner is done cleaning, click 'OK' on the prompt and exit the program.
  • Manually reboot the computer normally (not safe mode).
At this point, your computer should be working like usual and you should notice significant improvement from how it was before you started the virus removal process. If you continue to have problems or suspect that your computer is still infected, go through the process again or bring your computer into the store for advanced diagnostics. Click here for locations and hours.